Police Chief

Ask the Chief

“Ask The Chief” is a weekly post allowing readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in the city of Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance our community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs, and the Department in general.

Submit your question to askthe.policechief@ci.red-wing.mn.us. 

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Jul 01

July 1, 2019 - Community Threat Threshold

Posted on July 1, 2019 at 3:28 PM by Kate Berg

July 1, 2019

Ask the Chief

Q: Why is there no threat to the community, when a shooting is in progress or occurred recently?

Photo of downtown Red Wing with the words "Emergency Numbers; Emergency: 911; Non-Emergency: 651-

A: Thank you for your question. I take the safety of our community and residents very seriously and a lot of training and planning goes into our policing efforts. When an officer first responds to the scene of a call for service, they contain the situation, stop the threat (if present), provide aid to the wounded, and investigate the call. While this is occurring, command staff of the Police Department is assessing the risk to ensure the community is safe.

Throughout my career in law enforcement it was always ingrained in me that for a crime to be successful, you must have “intent, opportunity and capability." In other words, the criminal must have the intention to commit the crime, create or take advantage of the environmental conditions with a weak/distracted victim, and have the tools/means (capability) to do the crime. Remove one of these elements and the crime is unlikely to occur. The most difficult element to effect is their intention, as the criminal is determining if the outcome/consequences is worth the crime. Community policing is built around the other two elements, strengthening the victim or the environment to remove the opportunity and lastly taking away the criminals capability to commit the crime. 

Next, we consider a style of risk management to determine the potential scope of the criminal activity. Does the criminal intend to target a specific victim, or do they wish for a certain outcome and thereby target anyone in a given location. To determine this, we consider what is relevant to the criminal, their beliefs, education, experience, coping ability, what are the triggers, etc. We also consider the context of the crime, what is the environment, what affects does the environment have on the individual, does it inhibit or stabilize the situation. Lastly, what are the second and greater level of effects on our community and the region.

We also consider how much information can be released based on legal requirements, need for public safety, on-going investigations and Minnesota Statutes Chapter 13, Government Data Practices.

It is important to understand that each individual and their crisis is different, therefore the nature of the call, determines the approach to a given situation, whereas each person and incident is considered by the elements, relativity and context that are presented in each call. Hopefully this addresses your question, as there is no one answer that will solve each situation and usually the crisis is a result of numerous contributing factors driving the criminal act. 

The safety of innocent bystanders, the surrounding area, and the community as a whole is always our primary concern. If there is a threat or on-going danger, the Red Wing Police Department will notify the area/community by utilizing CodeRed, which is why it is important to enroll in the program so you can be notified immediately. Next week, I’ll address the question of how can we work together to make our community even safer!


1. Linda Miller, Karen Matison Hess & Christine Hess Orthmann. Community Policing: Partnerships for Problem Solving, 8th Edition, Cengage Learning, 2018. 

2. Risk Assessment Guide Elements for Violence, 2006, Association of Threat Assessment Professionals.

3. Minnesota Statute, Chapter 13, Government Data Practices, located online at https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/13

3. CodeRed https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/ECFBE1C94293

4. Crime Stoppers: 1-800-222-8477 http://www.crimestoppersmn.org/sitemenu.aspx?ID=674

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